Recently, we got in touch with Christopher Lee, the CEO of ShareInvestor and also one of the renowned panel of judges for the upcoming Investor-One Challenge, for how he got started in his career and his advice for budding individuals who want to venture into entrepreneurship.
1. ShareInvestor is a finance focused media & technology company with operations in five countries Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Australia. As the CEO, do share with us the milestones of the company that you’ve been involved in and are proud of.
ShareInvestor was founded in early 2000 with the basic belief that the internet can level the playing field for retail investors. Over the past 19 years, we developed products and services base on this belief. Today we have 3 key business focus – (i) investor relations services for public listed companies, (ii) market data tools services for investors to manage their portfolios and (iii) investor education programs to help investors better understand different investment opportunities. We started humbly in Singapore with only 12 staff and we have since grow the company with 110 staff across 5 countries.
2.Tell us about your story: What makes you decide to start ShareInvestor and what are the main challenges you have faced?
ShareInvestor started during the dot-com era when there were tremendous opportunities to leverage on the internet to revolutionize businesses. In the investment space, we saw the opportunity to empower investors to make informed investment decisions through the timely access to accurate information. Hence, our tagline – “INVEST WITH KNOWLEDGE”. With this vision in mind, the late Dr Michael Leong, Lim Dau Hee and myself came together to start the business. Each of us possess different skillsets needed for the business. Michael focused on identifying the needs of investors (he being an avid investor himself), Dau Hee focused on developing the IT infrastructure to provide the services to listed companies and investors and I focused on the management and operation of the business.
3.What advice would you give to young individuals who want to start their own venture?
Often you will hear people saying that having the right passion is needed to start up a business and to persevere through it when the going gets tough. In today’s dynamic environment, you will probably need more than that in order to have a decent chance of success. The customers needs are often changing and the consumers’ behavior may change quickly due to disruptive technologies and today’s customers are more knowledgeable and selective. Entrepreneurs needs to be alert to changing trends and take necessary action to modify their services and structure to meet the market demands.
4.What’s your philosophy in running your company?
In managing a company, I realized that there are a few key areas that entrepreneurs needs to focus. Firstly, for a typical SME business, cashflow management is crucial as this will affect the ways we can operate. Hence, if you want to focus on growing a business, which will take up a significant portion of your time, you will probably be better off if you have sufficient cashflow and a prudent way of managing it. You will probably start off with investors’ capital but after you reach a certain size, you should consider borrowing as that would help significantly. Secondly, you must be on a constant lookout for getting good people to join the team. Once you have identified these people, do the necessary to motivate and retain them through a combination of monetary incentives, flexible working environment, employee stock options schemes and training and development.
5.What qualities do you look out for when it comes to hiring a potential candidate?
When I am looking for people to join SI, I am always on the lookout for candidates with the right attitude. There will be candidates with different degree of relevant experience and skillsets. You will not be able to get the ideal combination of skills and experience at the cost that you are prepared to pay. Hence, having the person with the right attitude to learn, to innovate and to be different is an important differentiator in today ever-changing finance and technology industry.
Once again, Mr Christopher Lee is the CEO of ShareInvestor and also one of the renowned judges for the upcoming Investor-One Challenge.
Investor-One Challenge is the biggest, public stock pitch, ever held in Singapore. Registration is still open here.
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